ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) postponed the launch of Chandrayaan-2 Mission, India’s Second Mission To Moon. It is now planned to January 2019. With this delay, India could lose its fourth position for soft landing on the moon to Israel as it is too planning to launch a moon mission in December. It is a race between Tel Aviv and New Delhi for the fourth position in the world. Us, China and Russia are the three countries till now to successfully soft-land their spacecraft on the moon’s surface.
Unlike Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 which involves only orbiting around the moon, Chandrayaan-2 is much-complicated mission for ISRO. It comprises of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover.
After reaching 100 kilometers in the lunar orbit, the Lander covering the Rover will separate from the Orbiter. The Lander will soft-land on the moon’s surface and deploy a Rover which will analyse the content of the moon. The six-wheel Rover will walk on the moon’s surface in a semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands. The instruments fixed on the Rover will analyze the moon’s surface and send back data which will be useful for the analysis of Lunar’s soil.
According to The ISRO’s Official Website, “The spacecraft will weigh around 3290 kg and the payloads will gather scientific data on lunar topography, mineralogy, lunar exosphere, elemental abundance and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice.”
It is one of India’s most challenging mission so ISRO doesn’t want to take any risks and taking its time to fix any glitches or problems in the mission. Last Year, ISRO had witnessed two satellite mission failures. First, IRNSS-1H, navigation satellite got stuck in the heat shield during its launch in August and Second, Gsat-6A communication satellite went out of control after it’s launch in April this year.
Particularly, after Chandrayaan-1 and Mangalyaan, it is ISRO’s first mission to land a spacecraft on any celestial body. Chanrayaan-2 Mission is the first attempt by ISRO to land a rover on the surface of the moon. The Rover costing around 800 Crore will be made to land near the yet-unexplored south pole.
According To Times Of India, The ISRO’s Chairman, Dr. K Sivan described about the mission, “It is totally an indigenous programme. All components of the Chandrayaan-2 mission, including an orbiter, a lander and a rover, have been developed in the country. There integration is going on and they all are undergoing rigorous tests. On reaching the moon’s orbit, the lander will get detached from the orbiter and soft-land on the lunar surface. The six-wheeled rover fixed within the lander will get detached and move on the lunar surface for around 100 metres. It will spend 14 Earth days (one moon day) and analyse the content. It will also take photos of the moon’s surface and relay the images back to the Earth via the orbiter within 15 minutes.”
He also explained the reason for postponing the mission launch to TOI, “The original targeted date for the launch was kept on April 23. However, as the ongoing tests for the lunar mission will take 20 more days, the April 23rd date could not be met. Therefore the panel decided to defer the launch. Unlike, other satellite launches where Isro could easily defer the launch by a day or two to get a perfect mission, Isro can’t do the same in this mission. This is because the ideal date for the moon launch comes only once in a month. If we skip that date of the month, we have to plan the launch next month. After skipping the April date, if Isro launches the mission in the months from May to September, we won’t be able to utilise the full lunar day (14 Earth days) for experiments on the moon because of eclipses and other reasons. Therefore, Isro will launch the mission in the first week of October.”